NEWBERRY, Mich. (AP) – A wildfire that has consumed about 21,500 acres in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is about 63 percent contained, allowing some residents to return to their homes.
Some people living in the Pike Lake, Bodi Lake, Little Lake Harbor and Culhane Lake communities can get back in between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, according to Dean Wilson, public information officer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fire Management Team West.
“What we are attempting to do is to get people back in their homes, out of hotels, out of friends’ homes,” Wilson said. “We’ll let them in Saturday. They have to check in with us and let us know they are in there. They have to check out when they leave. This area is still subject to evacuation. The fire is still not out.”
Roads going into the communities will be closed to anyone who can’t prove residency, Wilson added.
The nearly 34-square-mile fire in Luce County’s Duck Lake area started last week. The number of homes and other buildings confirmed destroyed by the fire remained at 132 on Friday.
The Department of Natural Resources said the fire could smolder through the summer and take weeks to fully contain, according to The Mining Journal of Marquette.
A fire near Bodi Lake was started Monday by lightning, but it was knocked down. Crews were to check on it Friday.
Cooler temperatures helped in the firefighting effort.
A separate wildfire in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Schoolcraft County burned more than 5 square miles.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)